The Best Hiking Trails in the Western Algarve
Are you ready to hike and take the time to get to know the Algarve step by step? It is one of the most practised activities in the world, as it does not require any special equipment and still allows you to get to know unique places that in many cases are not accessible by car. Hiking is one of the most popular sports in the Algarve. Why is that? - you ask. Well, in the Algarve, especially in the Western Algarve, there are hiking trails that reveal the hidden gems of the Algarve without buildings or traffic. Just nature, fresh air and many surprises along the way.
In this article, we want to show you some of the best hiking trails you can do during your holiday.
How to plan a hike in the Algarve?
The trails we present are circular routes with different levels of difficulty. You should plan ahead of time the best walks to take while in the Algarve, taking your fitness level into account.
Hikes can last up to 6 hours, and if this is the case, you should carry everything you need to finish the hike safely. If you are a beginner, pack the following items and food in your backpack.
- A light raincoat;
- Comfortable walking shoes;
- Hat or cap;
- Mobile phone with a charged battery and a map of the trail.
- Rubbish bag
- Walking stick (essential on difficult trails)
- Bottle of water;
- Energy bar
- Fresh fruit and nuts.
Cerro da Carrapateira Trail
This trail offers the best of both worlds: Landscape and sea. From the hills, you can see the beaches of Bordeira and Amado, the villages of Carrapateira and Vilarinha, and walk through pastures and low scrubland, characteristic of this area. The birds will accompany you on your walk. The route is circular and 14 kilometres long, making it a difficult hike for beginners in this sport.
See the route file provided by the Rota Vicentina here.
Endiabrada Trail and hidden lakes
The Algarve holds many surprises, and this trail has a few. The hidden lakes are surprisingly beautiful amidst the vegetation of centenary oaks. On this route, you can walk through the foothills of the Espinhaço de Cão mountain range, characterised by Mediterranean forests, or visit the municipality of Bordeira. Stroll through the narrow streets, strike up a conversation with the locals in the village café and even enter the church of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação. The altar is gilded and still has some regional details in the decoration.
This is the route file of Rota Vicentina.
Walk through rocky areas that are more than 300 million years old and feel history at your feet. It is common to see birds on this circuit in late September and early October, as this is a corridor for migratory birds. Flora is also a novelty for those who are unfamiliar with this region of the Algarve. Native plant species found only in the southwest of Portugal can be found here. Stop halfway to listen to the waves and observe some places used by shell collectors to catch the famous barnacles. These are hard-to-reach spots that require a lot of knowledge and courage from these professionals.
Here you will find the route file provided by Rota Vicentina.
Fishermen's Trail - Salema to Luz
Start your day early and begin your hike at Salema beach. Enjoy the view and take some bird-watching equipment with you, such as binoculars or a camera, because you can often see different species in this place. Besides the incredible scenery, this hike also hides a piece of Portuguese history. The traces of a ship of French origin, approximately sixty metres long, can be found in front of the western end of Boca do Rio. This ship was sunk by the English fleet in the famous "Lagos Battle" in 1759. Pirate attacks were common, which is why the Almádena fortress was built.
Follow this historic route and look for wildlife along the way. The route file can be found here.
Monchique Waterfall Trail
On this trail, you can get to know the Monchique Mountains if you have not had the chance yet. It is the Algarve's lungs, as well as the region's largest mountain range. We start the hike in Fóia, the highest point where the clouds hang on grey days. In the rainy season, the water in the waterfalls of this place is particularly abundant. The trail passes the Penedo do Buraco waterfall, surrounded by large chestnut trees. Continue to the Chilrão waterfall, which flows into Amoreira beach. Finally, you reach the Barbelote waterfall via a forest path. If you look around, you will find several strawberry trees or "medronho trees", whose ripe fruit you can still taste in autumn.
Sete Vales Suspensos trail
This hiking trail is considered one of the most beautiful in the Algarve and has already been nominated as "Best Hiking Destination in Europe" in the European Best Destinations ranking. The walk follows the cliffs of the coastal area of Lagoa, where you can see the beaches of Marinha and Vale Centeanes in this municipality. As the name suggests (Seven Hanging Valleys), the trail winds through seven valleys full of surprises, such as the famous Benagil cave or other hidden caves.
See the GPX map of this trail.
Alvor Walkways Path
They were built with the intention of showing a protected area without harming the wildlife there. The Alvor boardwalks are the largest in the Algarve and connect Três Irmãos beach with the Alvor river. You can enter this route at various points and walk however many kilometres you want without having to return the same way. Walk along the river or the beach, watching the dunes, the kite surfers or the fishermen leaving the river towards the sea. This path is not difficult and can be done by anyone. Take the opportunity to walk it before sunset and end the day with a magnificent view.
The Western Algarve is full of surprises, and there is no better activity than a hike to discover them. Take time on holiday for this sport and get to know the hidden Algarve gems.